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Water at schools to be tested for lead

July 28, 2018

NEEDLES — The California State Water Resources Control Board under Assembly Bill 746, which took effect Jan. 1, requires that the water supplies of kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools be tested for lead.

AB 746 requires a community water system that serves a school site of local educational agency (LEA) with a building constructed before Jan. 1, 2010, to test for lead in the potable water system of the school site on or before July 1, 2019. The bill states that if the lead level exceeds 15 parts per billion, the LEA shall notify the parents and guardians of the pupils who attend the school site or preschool where the elevated lead levels are found. If the lead levels exceed 15 parts per billion, the LEA shall take immediate steps to make inoperable and shut down from use all fountains and faucets where the excess lead levels may exist. Additional testing may be required to determine if all or just some of the school’s fountain’s and faucets are required to be shut down.

“The cost for the lead test would come out of our annual maintenance fees,” said Mary McNeil, Needles Unified School District superintendent. “A lot of our water pipes have already been replaced when we rebuilt the cafeteria and remodeled a couple of our sites, so I don’t anticipate any issues.”

The official lead tester for the NUSD is the city of Needles Water Department.

“The test has not been completed yet since we need to wait until the students are back in school and the water is flowing again,” said Jerry Porter, chief operator for the city water department. “The test should be taken in late August.”

The bill states that the community water system shall report its findings to the school site within 10 business days after the community water system receives the results from the testing laboratory or within two business days if it is found that the school site’s lead level exceeds 15 parts per billion.

To find out more about the Lead Sampling in Schools Program and information on AB 746, visit the State Water Board’s webpage https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/leadsamplinginschools.html.

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